Washington, Apr 28(ANI): A former Osama bin Laden associate has said that the Al-Qaeda leader did not expect the United States to strike back as hard as it has following the September 11, 2001 attacks.
"What happened after September 11 was beyond their imagination," The New York Post quoted Noman Benotman, who was the head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in 2000, as having told the WTOP Radio.
Benotman said Al-Qaeda was overly confident based on the U.S. response to the attacks carried out by the group on their embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
"I'm 100 percent sure they had no clue about what was going to happen," he added. eanwhile, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) official also backed Bentoman's claims.
"Several captured terrorists have said publicly that Al-Qaeda never expected the towers to fall. Their goal was to frighten people and impact the U.S. economy, so they really didn't plan for the massive response the U.S. launched," the official said.
On that morning of September 11, 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists had hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners.
The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings. Both buildings collapsed within two hours, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others.
The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, while the fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Pennsylvania after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane.
At least 2,800 people, including the 19 hijackers were killed in the attacks, where overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians.
The U.S. responded to the attacks by launching the 'War on Terrorism', and invaded Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, who had harbored Al-Qaeda terrorists.
Bin Laden and fellow Al-Qaeda leaders are believed to be hiding near the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas. (ANI)